I came of age in the ’60s, that turbulent time of the British Invasion, the Vietnam War, hippies, free love, mini skirts, love beads, granny glasses, platform shoes (or no shoes), sit-ins, laugh-ins, lie-ins, love-ins, and slogans such as “Right on!” and “Far out!” and “Don’t rust anyone over 30!” and “What if they gave a war and nobody came?”
We were a combination of our roots and families, as well as the nation’s hope and despair. Our music was eclectic; folk music, hard rock; they all became anthems of our time and place in the world.
The artists we loved and followed became part of our lives; the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, Odetta, Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan, Peter and Gordon, Joan Baez, Freddie and the Dreamers, Herman’s Hermits, Donovan, the Kinks and the Beach Boys.
“Our” music became popular just after artists like Fats Domino, Chubby Checker and Elvis Presley, idols of our older brothers and sisters. We all grew up agreeing that our music was the best ever, better than anything because we all loved it so.
When I hear “our” music, I am young again and the whole world and all its promises seem wide open. As good as some of the new artists are (and there are some amazing ones), they don’t pierce my heart with the sweet arrows of familiarity and remembrance as my old favorites do.
When I hear Peter, Paul and Mary singing “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” tears come readily to my eyes. It takes me back to a time when I was young and hopeful and believed that anything could happen. The tears come because I will never be that young again.
But I think that what I’ve gained over the years in knowledge, empathy, and some wisdom and kindness are worth it. When you think about it, the times they always are a-changin.’ And that’s not always a bad thing.